Ontario’s publicly owned power utility, Ontario Power Generation (OPG), is in no hurry to reduce its greenhouse gas pollution. Its newly released climate plan contains no steps to phase out the use of its polluting gas-fired power plants before 2040 when the last of its contracts with the Independent Electricity System Operator expire.
As always, OPG has chosen the most difficult and most costly path toward its stated goal of being “carbon neutral” by 2040. Instead of joining the rest of the world in embracing low-cost renewable energy and energy efficiency, OPG is banking on high cost and unproven technologies like carbon capture and storage and small nuclear reactors to reduce its growing pollution footprint.
This strategy will be costly for both our pocketbooks and our climate. With pollution from gas plants set to rise by more than 300% by 2025 and by more than 400% by 2040, Ontario will blow past its already weak climate targets.
For the people of Ontario, OPG’s plan is a slap in the face. Our public utility is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic while we witness the growing costs of a rapidly warming climate. Instead of getting serious about reducing pollution, OPG spins out pipedreams.
OPG’s climate plan claims that its gas-fired power plants are needed to back-up Ontario’s intermittent wind and solar energy. This is simply not true. According to a recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology study, Quebec’s hydroelectric reservoirs, which can act like a giant green battery, are the best back-up option available for wind and solar energy.
A gas plant phase-out is the easiest and lowest-cost option for Ontario to achieve its 2030 climate target and is entirely doable with readily available (and cost effective) technology.
The cities of Burlington, Kitchener and Hamilton, the Town of Halton Hills and the Township of Woolwich are all calling for the phase-out of OPG’s gas-fired power plants, as are more than 50 non-government organizations including the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, the Canadian Environmental Law Association and the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario.
It’s time for Ontario’s political leaders to tell OPG to get serious about reducing gas plant pollution instead of daydreaming about expensive and unworkable solutions that are a recipe for failure.
What you can do
Please sign our petition calling for the phase-out of all of Ontario’s gas-fired power plants by 2030 (and share it with your friends). When you sign the petition an email message will be sent to Doug Ford, Andrea Horwath, Steven Del Duca and Mike Schreiner.
Angela Bischoff, Director